5 Benefits of Collecting Small Works
A wise bear-of-a-person once said, "Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in our hearts." This is absolutely true when it comes to collecting small works. My favorite paintings are the little gems that my wife and I have acquired over the years. They're little reminders of experiences we've had, travels we've gone on, and they bring us joy on a daily basis as we pass them on our way to our morning coffee. I could argue that there's more reasons to buy that little painting than not, but let me try and narrow it down to 5 reasons to collect small works.
1. SPACE - If I had a nickel for every time I heard, "I'm all out of wall space" or "My walls are full", I would be drifting through the flats in Belize chasing bone fish and permit with my fly rod. I totally understand though, with all the windows in today's homes and the fact that the walls fill up, it can be tough to justify buying another painting. However, we're collectors and we can't help ourselves. Get that art-buying fix by adding a miniature painting to your collection! With small works, which I personally define as 11x14 inches or smaller, you can always find room to hang them. Whether it's that vertical wall in the kitchen or that little space in the bathroom that just feels like it's missing something, a small painting kills two birds with one stone. You brighten the room with a new painting and you fulfill that desire to continue buying art.
2. PRICE - With smaller paintings, come smaller price points. First, it can be a great way to add a well-known artist to your collection without breaking the bank. You don't want to spend $150,000 for a large Martin Grelle painting but you love his work, then focus on one of his terrific 9x12 portraits that you can pick up for under $10,000...if you're lucky enough to get drawn. In all seriousness though, sometimes we just can't afford a major work by a coveted artist, so shrinking the size can make the price tag more palatable.
Maybe it's not the unicorn artist you're searching for, but you're trying to build a collection on a budget. Small works are a great way to add quality art to your collection and still have money to pick up a six pack of your favorite IPA. As you build your collection, you can always take those early small works and trade them or sell them to upgrade your collection. That's assuming your buying quality works and the right artists.
3. MARKET ENTRY - This may sound like a similar reason as price, but in reality, small works are a great way to enter the market. Maybe you've been collecting limited edition prints/giclees because that's what you can afford. Small original works are a great way to make the move from prints to originals. If you're really trying to build a collection with lasting value, then buy originals and NOT reproductions. Also, it's a great way to get introduced to a new artist. By purchasing a smaller work by an artist you're not as familiar with, it gives you a chance to get to know them and their work without the heavy investment.
|Scalplock by Martin Grelle 12x12 inches; sold by CdA Galleries|
4. DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE - Small works gives you a completely different viewing experience than larger paintings. First of all, the viewing distance is totally different where you want to stand back and enjoy a large painting, with small paintings, you should get up close and personal. It allows you to see all the little details, brush strokes, and effort that went into creating the art. It's a lot more intimate because you are enjoying the painting so much closer. Don't be fooled, good artists may have lots of ideas for paintings, but they apply them to small works just like big paintings because they still want to create quality paintings. Many artists will tell you that smaller works can be more difficult than larger ones, because trying to create something visually appealing in such a small space requires different brushes, a different approach, and just as much work if not more to complete a painting. Obviously, these works aren't going to be the statement pieces as guests walk into your home, but they're the little gems they enjoy with a glass of wine as they hang out. Also, there are a plethora of great miniature shows, so the experience of attending and seeing over a hundred and sometimes two hundred works hanging together in various styles, mediums and subject matters is incredible! There's no hiding when artists are all hanging next to each other, so they often times put their best foot forward for miniature shows.
5. GREAT GIFT- What do you get for that person who has everything? That's something we've probably all asked ourselves at one point or another and my answer is ART! Everyone loves art. Not everyone is willing to buy it for themselves, but really appreciate it when they receive it as a gift. It's a gift that's viewed as thoughtful, unique, and personal. When buying art as a gift, you're forced to ask yourself how well you know someone and when you nail it, you can bring tears and joy. The only art I've seen re-gifted is that wonderful work of art known as George Costanza's "The Timeless Art of Seduction". You're welcome.
Who knew Winnie the Pooh was so wise when he said, "Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in our hearts." Whatever your reasons, don't gloss over the small paintings in galleries, and if you have a chance, attend a miniature show. I've heard there's an event in Coeur d'Alene, ID called Miniatures by the Lake that's a blast. Who knows, you may find something that fills your heart with joy.